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Dying young maple trees

We recently moved into a new construction home that was "landscaped" by the builder. 4 young (15 ft high) maple trees were planted, two of which have died & 2 are trying their best to survive. They have many dead branches that are completely dry and brittle and all the foliage and branches are growing straight upward...they are not spreading out at all (though other neighbors trees are starting to get a nice ball shape) This year we notice that several leaves with light green bumps covering them
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

It's hard to say what's going on here, but it sounds like they are suffering from an environmental problem, not a disease or insect. My guess, if it's a builder home, is that they planted those trees in clay-like subsoil which does not allow for good drainage. It's really hard for me to guess what the situation is since I don't know how the trees were handled by the builder in the first place, but I'd try to guage the wetness and hardness of the soil by taking a metal rod of some type and pushing it into the ground. If the rod comes out all mushy, it could be that rain is not percolating into the subsoil because of the clay on top. Or, if the ground is hard as a rock, it could be because the ground isn't moist enough and the clay has hardened. Again, my bet here is on bad soil, but I can't be sure. Sadly, there's not much you can do if this is the case except to eventually, after the trees die, to add lots of fresh topsoil and organic matter to your lot and try again."

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